By Nathan Swihart, Social Media and Internet Sales Specialist
Every professional should have comprehensive knowledge on the products they use on a daily basis. One of the widest-used and most fundamental tools throughout the history of the medical industry is the hypodermic needle. Whether you work in the laboratory, pharmaceutical, veterinary, or human healthcare fields, you’ve likely had some sort of experience with this ubiquitous medical device.
Although the concept of a needle is fairly elementary, there are instrumental differences in design and composition that can drastically impact the use of this device. Do you know if you are using the best needles to fit your needs?
Needle Sizes (Does Size Matter?)
There are three elements to consider when choosing the correct size of the needle: Gauge, length, and needle wall type. Needles come in various sizes to suit different needs. A short, fine tipped 30G needle may be more suitable for testing on lab rats for a more comfortable experience (while still being durable enough to inject into tough parts of the animal such as its tail), whereas a much larger 14G needle could better suit the need of harvesting horseshoe crab blood (the coagulants in the blood are used to ensure medications are not contaminated with bacteria).
The gauge (abbreviated as “G”) of a needle refers to the size of the needle’s outer diameter. The higher the gauge, the smaller the diameter and the thinner it appears. Thinner needles typically correlate with increased patient comfort and less bleeding. Air-Tite Products carries needles as small as 34G and as large as 14G.
A needle’s gauge only defines the thickness of the outside diameter of the needle. The thickness of the needle wall itself can vary, which correspondingly affects the size of the hole inside (the lumen). The smaller the lumen of the needle, the more difficult it is to pass viscous material through the needle. Some injectables cannot flow through extremely small lumen based on their viscosity so choosing the correct needle size is essential. That’s where the terms regular wall, thin wall, and ultra-thin wall come into the decision-making process. These terms refer to how thick the needle wall is (based on its inner and outer diameter). A thin wall needle’s inner diameter allows you to use a needle gauge that is smaller than that of a comparable regular-wall needle while benefiting from the same flow rate. For instance, a 30G ultra-thin wall needle may have a lumen comparable to that of a 27G regular wall needle, resulting in the same extrusion force needed with the potential benefit of having a smaller outer diameter. On the other hand, long needles with a regular wall are less likely to flex than thin or ultra-thin wall needles due to the added thickness, which could be beneficial for certain applications.
Air-Tite Products carries needles as short as 4mm and as long as 5 inches. Most applications require a specific length to be most effective and safe. Whether you are injecting a particular area of a person or animal, drawing up medication, or using the needle for another application, the correct length of needle is another important consideration when purchasing needles. Even if we don’t carry a specific size, we strive to find what you need.
How Important is the Hub Material or Design?
Although all ISO standard needle hubs should be compatible with all ISO standard syringes, the type of needle hub can provide differing features for a needle. Needle hubs can be constructed from a variety of materials, such as varying plastics or aluminum. Some of TSK Laboratory’s needle hubs are manufactured from an extremely hard polymer that also helps prevent flexing, leaking, and needle pop-off when exposed to high pressures. Certain needle hubs also have exterior threading for an even more secure fit. A metal hub is used mostly to provide durability or for specialized connectors. You should always take the needle hub into consideration when choosing the right needle for you.
TSK’s Low Dead Space Needles
One of the most exciting advancements in needle technology in recent years is the development of low dead space needle hubs. A standard needle contains a significant amount of “dead space” in the hub that prevents a portion of the product from being used when the plunger of the attached syringe is pushed completely down. The dead space of a standard hypodermic syringe paired with a standard needle averages out to around 99µl of wasted product. A low dead space (LDS) needle features a design that limits the amount of product left behind after each injection or use. The new TSK Low Dead Space Needle reduces the amount of product waste to nearly zero when paired with a low dead space syringe. The patented LDS hub design results in significant product savings and potential cost savings when working with expensive or limited supply drugs. These needles have been proven useful in instances such as the beginning of the Covid pandemic when vaccination doses were extremely limited. Yahoo! News reported in 2020 that 4 to 8 million additional people could be vaccinated if clinics were to use the TSK Low Dead Space Needle technology to administer the vaccine, due to the additional dose that could be extracted.
Is There a Way to Make a Custom Needle?
Air-Tite commonly handles custom projects. Our global network of suppliers means that we can typically find a manufacturer who can manufacture your desired needle size/design. For instance, we can provide custom orders involving different color hubs to associate with device drug identifiers. However, the minimum order quantities and/or pricing of these custom solutions can be higher than off-the-shelf solutions.
Air-Tite Products has been your syringe and needle specialists since 1926. Since our customers range from animal breeders to forensic scientists, we pride ourselves in being the industry experts and specialize in helping our customers solve their challenges—Whether you’re looking for PRP testing needs, determining the ideal needle for an aesthetics procedure, or searching for the right syringe for a specific laboratory application. Give us a call at 1-800-231-7762 to see how we can assist you today.
Sponsored content by Air-Tite Products. Co., Inc.